Complimentary Recipe: Warm Beef and Watercress Salad

"My parents owned their own restaurant for 20 years. They rarely ate at home because they worked 100-odd hours a week. When they did find time to eat at home, I remember it always being this dish, as it is quick, simple to make and light to eat. Just reading the recipe, I can smell the beef hitting the hot pan of garlic…" - Chef Luke Nguyen


2 large handfuls watercress, trimmed and washed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon garlic, finely diced
300g lean sirloin or beef fillet, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons nuoc mam cham dipping sauce
1 red chilli, sliced
100ml white vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
1 large handful perilla leaves
1 large handful mint leaves
1 large handful Vietnamese mint leaves
250 ml dipping fish sauce

Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and mix well to dissolve the sugar. In a mixing bowl, combine the watercress, onion and tomato. Dress with the vinaigrette and set aside.

Add the oil and garlic to a hot wok or frying pan. Stir-fry over medium heat for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

Turn the heat up to high. Add the beef and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until browned, then season with the pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

Add the beef to the salad, then drizzle with the Nuoc Mam Cham and toss together well.
Transfer to a plate, garnish with the chilli and serve.

Recipe from Luke's Book - The Food of Vietnam. Click here to purchase the book now.

Phuong Nguyen